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The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 1. 2015        

January 5, 2015

New Articles


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In 1992 historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki discovered official documents revealing the Japanese Imperial Army's inextricable involvement with the comfort women, yet more than two decades later the Abe government minces words denying compulsion. In an interview with Shukan Kin'yobi, Yoshimi explains what needs to be discussed and how to move forward in addressing the issue, critiquing false reports and misinformation primarily from right wing media that emerged after the Asahi Shinbun retracted its reports drawing on Yoshida Seiji's testimony on the comfort women.

Focusing on short-term economic effects, the mainstream assessments of Abenomics tend to ignore the necessity that Japan faces to bringing its infrastructure up to date in the wake of the 3/11 disasters. In anticipation of the Tokyo Conference on International Study for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience to be held January 14-16, Andrew DeWit introduces Japan's remarkable innovations in becoming more resilient against natural disasters including climate change. He shows how local communities together with government and researchers are joining hands to improve urban resilience in ways that could allow Japan to become a world leader in the era of climate crisis.

Historian Tomoko Akami presents an in-depth analysis of Japan's wartime news media focused on the Domei News Agency which oversaw both the colonies and the mainland, aimed at encouraging support for the military. Comparing it to the Allies' Reuters, she shows how Domei disseminated censored and biased accounts of the war efforts, arguing that the problems of wartime propaganda and information management were not limited to a specific political regime.
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